Ferrari boss makes surprising claim about them gaining on Red Bull

Ferrari mounted a comeback in Azerbaijan, securing pole position and their first podium of the season.

Ferrari is confident heading into the Miami Grand Prix after Charles Leclerc’s strong showing around the streets of Azerbaijan. 

The Monegasque took advantage of the team’s new upgrade package to deliver pole position in both the Sprint race and the Grand Prix, as well as podium finishes in both outings.

The P1 start temporarily halted Red Bull’s dominant streak, although Ferrari would prove unable to compete with the race pace of the title-leaders, with Sergio Perez taking victory in both of the weekend’s races.

While Leclerc would finish the Grand Prix in P3, he took the chequered flag behind both of his Red Bull rivals, showing there is still work to be done if Ferrari are to secure victory or fight for the title.

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However, in a potentially positive sign for Ferrari, Leclerc’s deficit to the Red Bulls around Baku was less than half of Carlos Sainz’s deficit to the duo in Bahrain.

“It’s a long way to go and we have still 19 races,” Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur told Channel 4. 

“If you consider where we were in Jeddah and where we are today I think we did more than 50 percent of the gap.

“The next 50 percent it’s not the easiest one. We know we have to improve and we know where we have to improve.

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“The most important is that this kind of weekend [Baku], we took pole position position and had a good stint in the race that will give us more confidence.”

“I think the car is much easier to drive compared to the first events and this is giving more confidence to the drivers clearly and more consistency as well on the long stints.”

Due to two DNFs early in the season, with Leclerc suffering a reliability issue in Bahrain and a collision in Melbourne, Ferrari have been on the back foot in the Constructors’ race.

Ahead of Miami, they have managed to close the gap to Mercedes to just 14 points, putting them in touching distance of P3 in the title race.

“For sure, we were expecting to be in better shape at the beginning,” the Frenchman conceded, “and I don’t want to bulls**t you, but what I’m very pleased about is the reaction of the team.

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“We are never in a panic mode, that after the first three events – and Jeddah was tough for us – but the reaction between Jeddah and Melbourne was a very good one.

“The approach, even on the development, there was never panic or to change everything on the car. It was not the plan.

“We were always focused on bringing small updates to understand what we are doing first, to understand where we can improve the potential, to first reach the potential of the car.”